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336 pages, Paperback
First published October 31, 1972
"It was more nearly an instinct than knowledge, however, that made me understand that if it is one's destiny to change the world, it is his necessity first to change himself."
”I have come to believe that in the life of every man, late or soon, there is a moment when he knows beyond whatever else he might understand, and whether he can articulate the knowledge or not, the terrifying fact that he is alone, and separate, and that he can be no other than the poor thing that is himself.”
Dear John Williams, thank you kindly, for Stoner, Butcher`s Crossing and Augustus. You have provided a memorable, outstanding and masterful literary experience and this shall be cherished and valued until the end of time. You are requested to accept the heartfelt and sincere apologies and pardon us for not appreciating your writings and literature whilst you were still here. It is a promise that you shall be dearly and profoundly missed.
-truly and sincerely, your loving reader.
Perhaps we are wiser when we are young, though the philosopher would dispute with me. But I swear to you, we were friends from that moment onward; and that moment of foolish laughter was a bond stronger than anything that came between us later – victories or defeats, loyalties or betrayals, griefs or joys. But the days of youth go, and part of us goes with them, not to return.
“Father,” I asked, “has it been worth it? Your authority, this Rome that you have saved, this Rome that you have built? Has it been worth all that you have had to do?”
My father looked at me for a long time, and then he looked away. “I must believe that it has,” he said. “We both must believe that it has.”
[S]ome of the errors of fact in this book are deliberate. I have changed the order of several events; I have invented where the record is incomplete or uncertain; and I have given identities to a few characters whom history has failed to mention….With a few exceptions, the documents that constitute this novel are of my own invention…. But if there are truths in this work, they are truths of fiction rather than of history. I shall be grateful to those readers who will take it as it is intended – a work of imagination.